Illegal to Sleep: Grants Pass’ Cruel War on Homelessness

Invisible People: In this compelling documentary, Invisible People traveled to Grants Pass, Oregon, a picturesque city of about 40,000 residents, which is now at the forefront of a significant legal battle with nationwide implications. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to deliberate on the pressing issue of homelessness and the criminalization of public camping. At stake is whether local governments like Grants Pass can enforce bans on sleeping in public spaces at all times. This decision could potentially affect the lives of approximately 600 homeless individuals living in Grants Pass alone, including 55-year-old Laura, who was forced into homelessness following the death of her husband, and Amber, who has received over 30 tickets for just existing.

Our investigation dives deep into the daily struggles of homeless people trying to survive in the rain and cold. The documentary covers the impending Supreme Court case, Grants Pass v. Johnson, which challenges the city’s public camping ban under the Eighth Amendment’s clause against “cruel and unusual punishments.” This historic case questions whether it’s constitutional to penalize the homeless for sleeping outdoors when they have no other shelter options.

Grants Pass officials argue for the need to reclaim public spaces, while advocates for the homeless warn of the dire consequences of criminalizing homelessness. This video highlights the personal stories of affected individuals and explores the broader societal and legal implications. Join us as we shed light on this critical issue, examining the intersection of law, policy, and human rights in a community divided on how to treat its most vulnerable residents. Watch as we unfold the layers of this complex issue, leading up to a landmark decision that could reshape the landscape of homelessness across America.

For more information and how you can get involved, visit

This video is a partnership between Invisible People and the National Homelessness Law Center

Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 13.02.39
30 April, 2024
Type of Update:
In the Courts
In the News
Updates from our Partners
Recent Events
Courts Systems
Human Rights
Petty Offences
Public Health
Use of Public Spaces
United States
North America
Campaign Partners:
Invisible People
National Homelessness Law Center

The Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status is a coalition of organisations from across the world that advocate for the repeal of laws that target people based on poverty, status or for their activism.


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